Dreaming of Summer: Spicy Gazpacho

Whenever I make gazpacho for my family or friends, I tell them a joke that is older than I am:

A man calls the server over to his table at the restaurant.

Man: Waiter, my soup is cold.

Server: It’s gazpacho.

Man: Ok. Gazpacho, my soup is cold.

But I digress. One of my favorite gazpachos is made by Rosie’s Italian Grille in Toledo, Ohio. There is nothing that beats a cool and spicy bowl to take the edge off a humid afternoon. I don’t miss the humidity, but I miss that soup. Now, each summer along the coast, when the breeze has finally lost that constant Pacific chill, and there is a possibility to stay out after 4:30 p.m. without putting on a sweater, we are gifted homegrown tomatoes from our friends in the valley. In payment, I make my version of spicy gazpacho–chunky style.

Ingredients (amount varies according to the number of gifted tomatoes)

  • 4 cups chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumbers
  • 2 cups chopped assorted red, orange and yellow bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups diced red onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 48-oz bottle V-8 Spicy
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped basil leaves, scallion greens, large croutons, and creme fraîche for serving.


In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the cucumbers, bell peppers, onion, celery, garlic, cilantro, parsley, dried basil, fresh oregano, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and lime juice.

In a blender, puree half to two-thirds of the mixture in batches until nearly smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the V8 juice and season with salt and pepper.

Chill for at least 6 hours before serving. It’s best if it waits overnight.

Serve topped with fresh basil and scallions, large croutons, and a dollop of creme fraîche.


It’s hot in the summer, so a wine that likes to be chilled is a good bet. We like albariño, picpoul, or a sauvignon blanc from Carmel Valley. For beer, I would choose one of my favorites: a very cold Allagash White. Of course, this should be offset with several glasses of water.

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